If you have had the displeasure of dealing with AFNI Debt Collections, you may already know some of the aggressive, unfair, and even illegal techniques they employ to try and get your money.
It may seem intimidating considering that the agency collects on behalf of large companies like Verizon, Comcast, and State Farm Insurance. Fortunately, we are on your side when it comes to dealing with AFNI Collection Agency. Before you talk to AFNI again, know what your rights are so that you can get them off your back once and for all.
Make them prove that the debt is yours
The first thing you should do if you are uncertain of the debt AFNI is referring to is to request that they validate the debt. One of the biggest complaints against AFNI Collections is that they often try to collect on invalid debts which do not belong to the consumer.
Many consumers feel pressured and end up just paying the invalid debt to make it go away. However, if you don’t like to give your money to dishonest collection agencies, you should consider sending them a debt validation letter.
It’s an easy way to halt the collection process until AFNI (or any other collection agency) proves you’re the correct person to be pursuing. It also verifies that the debt is active and within in your state’s statute of limitations. If not, you’re not obligated to pay and the debt should be discharged immediately.
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So what exactly does a debt validation letter do? It is essentially a consumer’s way of making their creditors prove that the account being collected on is accurate and belongs to the consumer. If the debt is valid, then AFNI Debt Collections must also prove that they are authorized by your creditors to collect on the debt. All efforts to collect on your debt must be stopped until debt validation is provided.
Otherwise, you aren’t obligated to make the payment because there’s no proof that you are actually responsible for the debt incurred. If they continue to make debt collection efforts without providing validation, they are in violation of federal law. At that point, you should notify the FTC and your state attorney general’s office.
If you don’t know how to write a debt validation letter, you can look at our samples of debt validation letters.
Know your rights under the FDCPA
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act guarantees the rights of consumers and limits what collection agencies can and cannot do when collecting on a debt. Unfortunately, collection agencies such as AFNI Collections often ignore the statutes outlined in the FDCPA.
If you’re approached by AFNI, whether it be by phone or mail, know your rights so you can defend yourself against lasting financial and credit damage from improper collection requests.
Under the FDCPA, Collection agencies are forbidden to do any of the following things to collect a debt:
- Collect on old debts. The statute of limitations varies by state, but it is typically between three and seven years. Many consumers have complained of AFNI Debt Collections trying to collect on debts from ten or more years ago, which is a clear violation in most states. Familiarize yourself with local laws so you know your rights.
- Collect on debts that do not exist. AFNI is one of the primary debt collection agencies used by Verizon. Many consumers have complained that AFNI has tried to collect on debts they say are from Verizon Wireless, but when the consumers have called Verizon, their debt could not be validated. In addition, attempts have been made to collect on debts for phone numbers they never had. Whether intentional or merely poor record keeping, it’s illegal.
- Use abusive or threatening language. If AFNI, Inc.’s representatives use abusive language over the phone, they are in violation of the FDCPA. For instance, they may not use obscene or profane language, threaten you with violence, or even threaten to take any legal action that they don’t actually intend to take.
- Collection agencies are also limited in the hours they may call. They can’t call you before 8:00 a.m. local time, or after 9:00 p.m. They’re also restricted when it comes to attempting to contact you at your place of work if you give them notice that such calls are prohibited by your employer.
Remember that any violations of the FDCPA should be reported to the FTC. Or you can file your complaint over the phone by calling 877-FTC-HELP. It’s also worth contacting your state attorney general’s office, particularly if AFNI is in violation of a state law regarding the statute of limitations.
AFNI Collections Verizon Wireless scam
One other word of counsel for consumers that have dealt with or are dealing with AFNI – the collection agency has been involved in a scam involving hundreds of consumers.
This scam involves AFNI contacting a former Verizon customer about an unpaid phone bill – usually in the amount of $100 to $800. Most of these people have either never had an account with Verizon, or have had their accounts closed for several years.
If they did have an old account, many consumers have not been able to verify their debt with Verizon or anyone else. If you have had something similar happen to you, do not pay the debt until you can get it verified first. Otherwise, there’s a strong chance that you’ll fall prey to illegal pressure tactics that are in no way valid, or a reflection of your actual outstanding debt.
Dealing with AFNI Collections may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Arm yourself with an in-depth knowledge of your rights and be prepared to state them the next time you hear from AFNI. Don’t be afraid to request help from the appropriate government officials if you need some backup.